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Posts tagged ‘open source’

Quotes from Copy, Rip, Burn

Some quotes from David M. Berrys “Copy, Rip, Burn – the politics of copyleft and open source”:

“There’s something I don’t understand about open-source movement. Oh, I understand opens-source intellectually. I understand that it means that source code is open to be read and reviewed and perhaps revised by anyone who wants to…What I don’t understand is something more sociological. I don’t understand who those folks are who want to do all that code reading and reviewing for no recompense. It goes against the grain of everything I know about the software field. (Glass 2000: 114)

Man produces himself through labour. (Marx and Engels 1999:21)”


“On the other hand we are told that the acquisition and monopolisation of intellectual property has become vital to the business and profitability and to the generation of economic power (that is, those that produce creatively have a right to the fruits of their labour). The production of software challenges this.”


Three layers of protection exist, IPR, DRM and EULA , copyrights, code and contract , and “consequently the carefully constructed balance between the public sphere and the private interest is lost” page 36.


“Too much attention has been focused on the profit-related aspects of intellectual property and not enough on the dangers inherent in the commodification of our cultural commons meanings, both those we build and those we hold as history.” page 36


“The closed-source world cannot win an evolutionary arms race with open source communities that can put orders of magnitude more skilled time into a problem. (Raymond, 2001)” page 179


“As language, ideas and concepts slowly are drained out of our public and common usage, our critical and democratic need to express ourselves, and to use and reuse culture in a new and challenging way, is blocked, foreclosed or only available at a price” page 37


“If informational products are taking up larger slices of the North’s GDP and the value of intangibles is becoming greater and greater (often backed by the code mediation of asset bubbles in physical property like housing), it is important that we appreciate technology’s role in facilitating these developments. Understanding the role of technology and computer code in mediating our experience of the world through models of reality also becomes more important (such as the complex software-mediated division of time and space into smaller and smaller units impractical to undertake on paper) – particularly with the increased introduction of digital artifacts into our lives. FLOSS, which gives access to source code, allows the reader to see inside the code and begin to understand how this code-mediation takes place.”

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The Success of Open Source

Steven Weber

In Steven Webers 2004 book “The Success of Open Source” he describes the history, the social structure and the economical and political ways of open source.

But most importantly he identifies open source not as something particular to software development, but as a way of organizing and therefore the open source principles have potential to influence the structures of society in general. Weber can be quoted the following on page 224:

“Like many elements of the Internet economy, the media sorrounds open source software with an overblown mix of hype and cynicism. These are short-term distractions from a profound innovation in production processes. (…)

Open Source is not a piece of software, and it is not unique to a group of hackers. Open Source is a way of organizing production, of making things jointly. (…)

The success of open source [think of the widespread of Apache servers, the Firefox browser and omnipotent Linux OS] demonstrates the importance of a fundamentally different solution, built on top of an unconventional understanding of property rights configured around distribution. And open source uses that concept to tap into a broad range of human motivations and emotions, beyond the straightforward calculations of salary for labour. And it relies on a set of organizational structures to coordinate behavior around the problem of managing distributed innovation, which is different from division of labor.

None of these characteristics is entirely new, unique to open source, or confined to the Internet. But together, they are generic ingredients of a way of making things that has potentially broad consequences for economics and politics.”

Jeffrey Sachs on Open Source Politics

Jeffrey SachsIn my latter post I described the case of Open Source Society and what learnings there is from the Open Source Movements to use throughout society.

One principle is the famous quote from internet pioneer David D Clark:

We reject: kings, presidents and voting.
We believe in: rough consensus and running code.

It describes the leadership in Open Source Movements. In 2007 economist Jeffrey Sachs touches upon this in his talks on BBC Radio 4s Reith Lectures, when he can be quoted this:

We are entering I believe a new politics, and potentially a hopeful politics. I’m going to call it open-source leadership. If Wikipedia and Linux can be built in an open source manner, politics can be done in that manner as well. We are going to need a new way to address and to solve global problems, but our connectivity will bring us tools unimaginable even just a few years ago. I’m going to try to explain how this can be done, how without a global government we can still get global co-operation, how initiatives like the Millennium Development Goals can be an organising principle for the world — though there is no single implementing authority — and how it is possible to coalesce around shared goals. I am going to explain how scientists can play a fundamental role in this, such as they do in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The IPCC is a good example of how a rough consensus is reach when:

(…) there are over 1200 independent scientific authors and 2500 reviewers who have taken part in the preparation of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007.(1)

If the COP15 will produce an tolerable agreement, then IPCCs work will be an succes. Jeffrey Sachs continues on open-source global cooperation:

I am arguing for open-source global cooperation as well, meaning a system in which all sectors are invited to offer solutions, under the guidance of an agreed set of targets. Starting with shared goals, backed up by regular and rigorous feedback from expert reviews, we can engender a worldwide outpouring of ideas, actions, and commitments from all parts of society – business, non-governmental organizations, and international agencies. Governments can stand ready to bring solutions to scale, through public finance and other kinds of incentives.(2)

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